Countrywide conservation tour begins

The Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College

Painted Hall, Old Naval College

From 19-21 March, the Scholars and Fellows were in London for the first leg of their countrywide conservation tour. The group first visited The Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich for an afternoon of conservation of surface finishes. Described as ‘the finest dining hall in Europe’, the Painted Hall is designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, and painted by Sir James Thornhill. Taking 19 years to complete, the finished Hall was deemed too grand for its original purpose – a dining area for naval veterans.

More than 50 years has passed since the Painted Hall was last restored, accumulated grime and areas of cracking need urgent attention. The Scholars were instructed how to use infrared to identify and reveal previous alterations. The dirty paintings were gently cleaned with de-ionised water and a soft sponge

 The Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College. Martin Ashley: architect, Stephen Paine: main contractor. Photo from Ross Perkin, SPAB Scholar 2013

The Great Hall, Westminster Palace

The Great Hall, Westminster PalaceTimber, glazing and joinery repairs were the order of the day at The Great Hall, Westminster Palace. The Scholars and Fellows were lucky enough to learn from the expert team on site. Damaged Reigate stone was cleaned using the cleaning agent, arte mundit. The oak woodwork was stained with sulphate from fireplaces, this was gently dusted off. The magnesium limestone was crumbling, loose parts were removed with a soft brush. The cement mortar was removed and repointed with NHL 2, a naturally hydraulic lime. The Great Hall is the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate and has played a pivotal role in British history as all major institutions of the British state were founded around this Hall.

 The Great Hall, Westminster Palace. Adam Watrobski: architect of the Parliamentary Estate, Patrick Duerdan: project architect, Donald Insall Associates, David Carrington, Skillingtons: contractor, Brian Ridout: environmental expert. Photo from Ross Perkin, SPAB Scholar 2013

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